Below are three takeaways from podium sessions after the Chargers second preseason game:
Staley: A 'poor' 1st-half performance
The Chargers fell in their second preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys, in a game where the first half left much to be desired.
The Bolts struggled to slow down the Cowboys, giving up four total touchdowns in the first half, including two on special teams.
Although the second half was better, it was not enough to come away with the win.
After the game, Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley summed up his team's performance against Dallas.
"It was a really poor first half for us. About as poorly as you can play, and that really put us behind, overall," Staley said. "I didn't like the way the first half felt or looked, really in all three phases. When you have two turnovers and give up two special teams touchdowns, that's the way the score is going to look."
"In the second half, we played better. I'm glad that we responded well. We'll learn a lot from this tape, for sure," Staley added.
Special teams were a struggle for the Chargers, as the Cowboys returned both a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown Saturday night. Staley hopes that this game can serve as a learning lesson for younger players.
"I was disappointed because that's not the way we practiced this week, Staley said. "That's not the way the guys performed in practice, so to come out and play that way, they're going to learn a lot from that. They're going to learn the entire NFL is watching, you know, and we're watching the entire NFL."
"That's why these games are important when you're playing, and you need to make sure that you perform. Or else, you know, we'll find someone else who can," he added. "There will be a lot of people that learn a lot from this tonight."
Browse through live action photos of the Bolts Preseason Week 2 matchup against the Cowboys at SoFi Stadium.
Palmer shines with 1st TD of preseason
Second-year wide receiver Joshua Palmer built on his impressive training camp Saturday night as he hauled in his first touchdown of the preseason.
With three catches for 75 yards, Palmer showed off a little bit of everything. He made a contested catch near the sideline and also took a screen into the end zone, with the 2021 third-round draft pick showing just how versatile he can be.
Staley gave his thoughts on Palmer after his big night.
"I felt like he played really well. I felt like he had a really good week of practice versus [the Cowboys]," said Staley. "I think he's playing with confidence, and that's why we wanted to get him in these games in the preseason.
"We know he's a starting-caliber player but I think he can gain a lot of confidence playing with Easton [Stick] and Chase [Daniel]," Staley added. "Tonight, he was a good bright spot for us."
Palmer's development heading into his second season has been a key storyline around training camp, and this game was a good example of why. Stick has taken notice of Palmer's improvement but doesn't think it's by accident.
"He's been awesome, seeing his growth in Year 2 has been really cool," Stick said after the game. "Being able to play really all three receiver positions, and this offense takes a lot mentally, so that's impressive."
"Stuff like that is impressive, the contested catches. I think the way he practices, it's not a surprise, I mean the guy works really hard and he runs his tail off at practice, so he puts in the time," Stick added.
Defense played 'tough' despite the loss
The Chargers run defense shined during joint practices with the Cowboys earlier this week. On Saturday night, the unit came through again.
The Cowboys ran the ball 33 times but gained just 115 total yards, good for just 3.5 yards per carry.
Staley gave his assessment of the Bolts run defense following the game and explained why he felt the defense showed toughness despite the loss.
"[The Cowboys] had 3.5 yards-per-carry, which is not great [on offense]. We played the run really well for both joint practices," Staley said. "Tonight, they're going to get 35 runs when they're up by 19 points at halftime.
"You're going to defend some of that stuff. Our guys played tough on defense tonight, and like I said, those guys played well enough for us to win tonight," Staley added.
Another bright spot on the Bolts was defensive lineman Joe Gaziano. The second-year lineman flashed Saturday night when he sacked Cowboys quarterback Will Grier on a third-and-6 in the third quarter. Gaziano talked about how the chemistry of the defensive line is coming together and what the unit is looking to accomplish on gamedays.
"I think we've done a better job of getting together and kind of watching film together," Gaziano said. "You know, speaking the same vernacular making sure we're all trying to be tough and rugged up front and do our jobs.
"You know if we're not getting the glory that's ok as long as the defense is getting the job done and we're getting off the field," Gaziano said.
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